Unknown man

Unknown Man     1916 July 28th      Wylye

Suicide on the Line

The action of an unknown man, dressed like a tramp, who jumped in front of a train at Wylye and was instantly killed, formed the subject of an inquest which was held by Mr F H Trethowan, Coroner for South Wilts, in the Wyvern Hall on Wednesday.

Henry Gale, of Townsend, Wylye, a packer in the employ of the Great Western Railway Company, said that on Monday, July 24th, he was working on the railway line at Wylye, about 150 yards from a private level crossing leading from the lower Salisbury Road to Mr Smith’s and Mr Lush’s fields. The crossing was about 1450 yards from Wylye Station, in the direction of Salisbury. He saw a train standing at the station, and when it was proceeding towards him he looked up so as to be able to get out of the way. Just then he saw a man standing on the crossing with his back towards the train. The engine struck the man and then passed over him. Anyone could have seen the train before he got to the crossing. Witness called the fireman’s attention to what had happened, and then went back to the man whom he found quite dead. His body was cut in two, the legs being in the four-foot way, and the head and shoulders outside the rails.

James Evans, of Cardiff, said he was driving the 2.25 train from Bristol to Salisbury on Monday. They left Wylye at 4.23 and everything was clear on his side of the road. Just after they left the station the fireman jumped to the whistle saying “Man in front.” Witness sounded the whistle and looked round to see if the man had cleared the train. He found he had not and the train was stopped.

Archibald Irwin, of Cardiff, fireman on the train, said that on approaching the crossing he saw a man come out of the hedge at a run. When he first saw him he was about ten yards from the engine. Witness immediately turned to the whistle, but the driver had his hand on the whistle chain, so he pulled it. Witness did not actually see the man knocked down. He thought he must have known that the train was approaching, and that he could not escape. When he first saw him the man appeared to be looking towards the engine.

Police Constable Scriven said he made an examination of the body and the clothes, but there was nothing to identify the man. Some people put his age at 45 to 50, but witness saw him alive the same day, and heard that he told someone he had been working on the road for 40 years.

The jury returned a verdict of suicide.


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